Taylor Force, 29, was killed by a Palestinian terrorist who went on a stabbing rampage in Jaffa on March 8, 2016.
(photo credit: FACEBOOK)
It is a very difficult time for the Palestinian Authority, as it appears that playtime is over. The Defense and Foreign Committee of the Knesset adopted a final version of a law that would deduct the money transferred to the Palestinians (Palestinian taxes collected by Israel), the amount that the Palestinians use to pay salaries to incarcerated terrorists, released terrorists, and families of deceased terrorists, which amounts to more than 1 billion shekels a year. The Knesset also refused to include in the law, a clause that would enable the government to approve the transfer of that money despite this money being used to encourage terror.
When this becomes law in a couple of weeks, it will join the ranks of the Taylor Force Act. The Taylor Force Act, which was approved by the US Congress in March, prevents the use of American aid to the Palestinian Authority, as long as the PA does not revoke the Palestinian law that provides the legal basis for payments to terrorists and cease these payments full stop. Altogether, the Palestinians stand to lose around two billion shekels annually, starting this year, which amounts to about 12% of their overall budget. It seems that nobody is going to compensate the Palestinians for these losses. Australia may even join the trend of refusing to support the PA’s “Pay for Slay” program.
All of this is happening, while political pressures are mounting as well. The open duel between Erekat and Greenblatt on the pages of Haaretz shows that the Palestinians do not have and should not have any expectations from the Americans to tolerate their goals of having a state over all of the 1967 territories (with minor land swaps) without giving up terror and their eventual commitment to gain all of Palestine eventually. Though both Obama and Kerry were openly opposed to any Israeli presence in the 1967 territories, and were very soft on the Palestinians in a way that proved to be extremely naive, even Obama and Kerry were reluctant to support these Palestinian goals. Obviously, Trump and his advisors are not going to accept them.
The US administration is not intimidated by empty threats from hostile regimes, as proved the handling of North Korea and Iran. In fact, this hard-line realistic approach towards foreign policy has been applied to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as manifested by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, moving the American embassy, and supporting Israel’s policy in facing the violent “March of Return.” This policy is accompanied by the pragmatic Arabs growing resentment of the Palestinians, as evidenced by the uncharacteristic criticism by the Saudi Prince Mohammad Bin Salman about persistent Palestinian intransigence.
So what are the Palestinians going to do now, faced with this new reality, where lies no longer count as diplomacy? Of course, first of all they will pray that somehow things will change. Then, they will protest and run to the UN and Mogherini, the only ears left often to them in the world arena. But then, when faced with such a shortfall of cash, perhaps the PA will be forced to curb their own corruption. Despite all costs thus far, the PA have persistently clung to their “Pay for Slay.”
In spite of this dire loss of aid, the PA will refrain from doomsday scenarios such as the dissolution of the government body. With this clear order of priorities, the PA might face growing internal discontent that already exists in Ramallah and Gaza in any case. Then, they might have to reassess their commitment to their narrative of struggling against Zionism by all means possible. If Trump managed to make the North Koreans change their narrative, who knows what will happen with the Palestinians, even though they may prove to be a tougher nut to crack.